February 14, 2018 3:45 a.m.
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, along with a bipartisan group of 17 senators this week, sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, urging them to respect states’ laws regarding the regulation of marijuana when finalizing fiscal year 2018 appropriations.
A release from Wyden says the senators sent the letter to Senators Thad Cochran, a Michigan Republican, and Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont.
The group says recognizing that the majority of states, including Oregon, have some form of reduced restrictions on marijuana, the Department of Justice has issued a series of guidance memoranda over the last several years outlining a federal-state framework upon which they say citizens rely on to establish legitimate businesses. However in January of this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded this guidance.
The letter is asking that fiscal year appropriations revert to the previous framework for marijuana regulations.
The release says the senators believe that rescinding years of guidance has created “disruption, confusion and uncertainty throughout the country”. They claim the disruption may deny medications to the sick, push people back to illicit markets and nullify “previously-effectively regulations”, while “thwarting the democratically-expressed will of the states”.
The letter says legislation should be pursued that protects “legitimate federal interests at stake and respects the will of the states – both those that have liberalized their marijuana laws and those that have not”.
Along with Senator Wyden, 14 other Democrats and 3 Republicans signed the letter